“We stick our graphics where the sun don’t shine” – Infocom ad from the 1980′s.
Infocom’s Interactive Fiction
Back in the day, they were only referred to as “text adventures.” These days fans call them interactive fiction. I loved those games back when I was an early teenager. I have very fond memories of solving the snake head puzzle in Zork II all by myself – no hints or clues used!
Over the years, I’ve collected legal copies of all the Infocom games (only in digital form). I have a copy of ‘Lost Treasures of Infocom’ volumes 1 and 2, ‘Masterpieces of Infocom’, the 5 collections: Adventure, Comedy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy, and the Zork Anthology. I bought them all out of a sense of fond nostalgia. But I haven’t really played them all that much.
Playing and finishing all the Infocom games
I’m hoping to start a little personal gaming project/quest. I’d like to play and finish all the Infocom text games. In order to preserve the wonder of playing these games, I’m going to play them using only the materials that would have been available to me in the 1980′s when I was originally playing these games. That would mean no internet helps, but it will allow me to use Infocom maps that were available for purchase (I have all of those) plus the Invisiclues (which can be had in z-machine form). Between those helps, I should be able to finish the games.
My platform of choice is the Zoom interpreter running on a Mac. I’ll be playing the games in the order that they were originally published, starting with Zork I. I have no idea how much time I’ll be able to put into this project, nor do I know how long I’ll stick to it before my attention wanders to another project. But as I finish games, I’ll post a review of sorts here.
Rare Zork Posters
One of the things that Infocom was good at was interacting with their customers. They produced unique “feelies” for all of their games which added so much to the experience. It felt like a personal touch. There was also a Zork Users Group that sold hint booklets and other cool stuff. Two items that they had for sale were posters inspired by the games Zork I and Zork II. You can see their ads for it in one of their club newsletters.
Sometime in April, 2012 (I think) I saw both of these posters come up for auction on ebay. I believe they went for a little over $800 and $1200 respectively! (The Zork II poster is a good deal rarer because fewer of them were made). I couldn’t bid that high, but thought it would be a good idea to email the seller and see if scans could be made of the posters. There just weren’t any decent quality scans of these posters available anywhere on the web.
To my surprise and delight, the seller was kind enough to oblige me! He ended up sending me high quality scans of both of the posters in segments that I just had to stitch together – which I was able to do with a little help from a friend in my church. So now we have nice, high quality scans of both of these rare posters!
You can get the high quality scans of the posters for yourself at the Infocom Documentation Project under XYZZY and Grab Goodies. I’m so glad these scans are now available!